Barcelona have confirmed that Eric Abidal is leaving the club at the end of the season after six years at the Camp Nou.
The Frenchman had been in talks with Barca during the past few weeks over a contract renewal, with his current deal expiring this June.
However, reports recently had suggested that a split was on the cards, amid the club’s offer of a non-playing role not matching the player’s ambitions to continue playing, having returned to full fitness this season a year on from undergoing a liver transplant.
This has now been confirmed, with the 33-year-old, President Sandro Rosell and sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta all attending a Press conference called on Thursday.
“Thank you to the President and Zubizarreta for being here,” began Abidal to the gathered reporters today.
“I have played six years at Barca. The experience has been the strongest in my life. During these six year I have had wonderful teammates, who are the best in the world.
“Thanks to all the Coaches who have had confidence in me, all the doctors and to doctor Medina [who operated on Abidal].
“Thanks to my family, to my cousin [who donated part of his liver to Abidal], my wife and my daughters. I had two objectives – to fight for my children to see them grow, and to return to play.
“I would have liked to have played on at Barca, but I have to respect the decision of the club.
“I’ll be sure to return because I have an interesting proposal from Barca. I have to think about it, but I appreciate the gesture.
“Thank you to the fans of Barcelona and to the people who have thought about me. Thank you and long live Barca!”